What to Do on Oʻahu’s North Shore
Even though the North Shore is far removed from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, there’s still plenty to do, especially if you love the outdoors.
Head to the Beach & Hop in the Water
You don’t have to be a pro surfer to enjoy the salt life on the North Shore. Snorkelers, paddlers, divers, swimmers, spearfishers, freedivers, body boarders, and all other kinds of watersports enthusiasts can all pursue their bliss at spots up and down the coast.
With more than 50 beaches to pick from, it can be tough to choose! Some of our favorites include:
- Laniākea Beach to admire the honu (turtles) basking on the shore
- Shark’s Cove for snorkeling and exploring the tide pools (great for the kids!)
- ʻEhukai Beach for watching the best-of-the-best surfers hone their craft on big days at Pipeline
For a quieter beach experience, drive over to Mālaekahana State Recreation Area in Lāʻie. There, you’ll find a gorgeous white sand beach with restroom facilities—and plenty of room to find a serene stretch of beach.
Hike to Kaʻena Point
This bird sanctuary is a great place to take in the wilder side of Oʻahu. While you can approach the Kaʻena Point from the south, from the North Shore, it’s easiest to access the point through the Mokulēʻia Section. During the 2.7-mile hike along the volcanic coastline, you’ll spot tide pools, rocky coves, sand dunes, and plenty of wildlife. There’s very little shade and no potable water available, so go early and bring plenty of water.
Waimea Valley has a long, storied history—and a prominent place in Oʻahu’s history. Today, the valley is owned by a non-profit dedicated to preserving the resources of the valley. Visitors can enjoy this cultural and environmental resource by exploring the Hawaiian cultural sites in the valley, admiring the lush landscape, and, conditions permitting, swimming at Waimea Falls. The valley also hosts concerts, movie screenings, and moonlit walks to the falls, offering you even more reasons to visit.
Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau
Above Waimea Bay, you’ll find Pu’u O Mahuka (“hill of escape“) Heiau, the largest heiau (temple/place of worship) on the island. Admission to the site, with its interpretive signage and trails, is free. If you’re new to the Hawaiian Islands, Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau is a great place to learn about Hawaiian culture and history. Along with a visit to Waimea Valley, a trip to the heiau offers a glimpse into the past, when the Waimea Valley was a major population center on Oʻahu.
Grab a Pineapple at the Dole Plantation
Along with the Polynesian Cultural Center in Lāʻie, the North Shore has its share of tourist attractions, including the Dole Plantation. This operation in Wahiawā started as a small fruit stand in the middle of a large pineapple plantation.
Today, the plantation welcomes more than a million visitors each year. With a pineapple maze and a train tour, the Dole Plantation makes for an entertaining family outing for the day—especially if your kids love Dole Soft Serve. Or, save the Dole Plantation for when you’ve got visitors in town, which is when a lot of people in Hawaiʻi knock these more touristy items off their bucket lists.